Matthew McConaughey: Grittier than you thought?

My boyfriend the other week came across this video of Matthew McConaughey giving this speech for winning Best Actor and just loved it. He was surprised that I had not seen it yet, so right away he pulled it up to show me.

Wow. How awesome is that speech?

Matthew McConaughey explains, in this speech, that he has three things that he needs each day: something to look up to, something to look forward to, and something to chase. God is the thing he looks up to and his family is the thing that he looks forward to, but it’s his something to chase that is really remarkable. He explains that his something to chase, his hero, is him in 10 years. And, once that ten years is up, it’s him in another ten years. He’s never going to reach his hero because he can always improve. He is always on the path to mastery, but will never reach it… and that’s okay.

“Every day, every week, every month, and every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I’m never going to be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that, I know I’m not. And, that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.” – Matthew McConaughey

After reading Grit, by Angela Duckworth, I now appreciate this speech even more. As soon as I read this paragraph in Grit, I was like “oh my gosh, that speech! This perfectly speaks to some of McConaughey’s grittiness as a person.”

“Why were the highly accomplished so dogged in their pursuits? For most, there was no realistic expectation of ever catching up to their ambitions. In their own eyes, they were never good enough. They were the opposite of complacent. And yet, in a very real sense, they were satisfied with being unsatisfied. Each was chasing something of unparalleled interest and important, it was the chase– as much as the capture– that was gratifying. Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful, they wouldn’t dream of giving up. Their passion was enduring” (Duckworth, p. 8).

McConaughey’s passion and perseverance will never let up. He is on a constant journey of reflection and practice to improve his skills everyday, so he can be the best that he can be. Surely, he’s on the right path. It’s actually getting harder and harder to not see Matthew McConaughey on TV anymore, whether it’s him in a movie or him in a Lincoln or Wild Turkey commercial. McConaughey

“demonstrate[s] a striking desire to excel beyond [his] already remarkable level of expertise… It’s a persistent desire to do better… It’s the opposite of being complacent. But it’s a positive state of mind, not a negative one. It’s not look backward with dissatisfaction. It’s looking forward and wanting to grow” (Duckworth, p. 118).

Now, isn’t that something to strive for as a leader?

With that kind of mindset, I think he’s going to be “alright, alright, alrigggghhhttt.”


Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner.

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